At Vatican Conference, Birmingham Mayor Calls for Multi-Sector Approach to Combat Human Trafficking

Vatican City —During remarks given today at the Vatican, Human Rights First Bankrupt Slavery Campaign Ambassador Mayor William Bell called for a multi-sector approach involving government, law enforcement, business, and faith leaders to dismantle the criminal enterprise of human trafficking. Mayor Bell of Birmingham, Alabama presented today as part of the plenary session of the Vatican’s workshop titled, “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: the Commitment of the Cities.”

“Now is the time for us to heed the clarion call of Pope Francis to work together to end the universal [suffering] of individuals who are being victimized by human trafficking,” said Mayor Bell during today’s remarks. “There needs to be increased efforts to dismantle the business of trafficking…This will require a comprehensive, multi-sector approach that establishes new partnerships to share data and best practices and to expand the capacity of law enforcement. In addition, there must be new energy and partnerships developed between law enforcement, governments, businesses, and civil society to bring perpetrators’ profits down and ensure legitimate businesses and government are not knowingly or unwittingly supporting the crime by having slave labor in the supply chains of their companies and those from which they procure goods.”

Mayor Bell is one of 60 mayors and local government officials from around the world who were invited to participate in today’s Vatican conference on human trafficking and climate change. Representatives at the conference emphasized the universality of these problems and the need for cooperation amongst international governments and businesses to dismantle the transnational criminal network of traffickers.

Human Rights First has joined together with prominent leaders from the business and financial sectors, law enforcement, the military, federal, state and local government, and civil rights community to urge the U.S. government to develop common sense policies to dismantle the business of human trafficking. For more information, read Human Rights First’s blueprint, “How to Dismantle the Business of Human Trafficking.”

“As an ambassador to the organization called Human Rights First, we’re dedicated to work not only within the United States but internationally with other organizations to end this travesty among God’s children. We have made a lot of progress in combating trafficking both in the United States and abroad over the past 15 years, but we are still a long way to go,” said Mayor Bell.


Published on July 21, 2015


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